Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Music Theatre Performance
Year of graduation: 1995
Since musical theatre graduate Michael Therriault’s international success as Gollum in the live adaptation of Lord of The Rings in 2008, he’s been keeping the fantasy alive on stage and screen through roles in The Tin Pan Alley Rag, Peter Pan and in the Mary, Queen of Scots meets Gossip Girl television show Reign. His role as Lord Castleroy in the popular series turned from a small appearance into a recurring part. “I felt a bit old on set compared to many of the other actors, but I loved it,” jokes Therriault. “I really lucked out. It was supposed to be a one episode gag and they just kept writing me into storylines.”
Therriault also took on roles in Heroes Reborn and Hemlock Grove as part of his six-year break from the stage to explore the world of television acting. “At first, I thought I’d just take a year away,” he says. “When you come from theatre, shooting for television takes a lot of getting used to. At first, it felt a little lonely. You often don’t have time to get to know the people you are working with in the same way you do in theatre. There’s also quite a lot of last minute memorization involved.” As part of stretching his wings, Therriault also took on a role in his first horror movie, Cult of Chucky, which is set for a 2017 release, as well as lending his voice to the characters of Old Man Jenkinsbot and Mayor Torgo on the animated Bagel and Becky Show. Now, Therriault’s returning to the stage, making his debut at Shaw Festival in Me and My Girl and Androcles and the Lion. “Going back to the theatre is a big change, and my body’s not used to it,” he laughs. “I’d forgotten how exhausting rehearsing six days a week can be, and how much brainpower is required to learn choreography."
Adding to the challenge is the unique approach that director Tim Carroll will be taking with the Bernard Shaw written Androcles and the Lion. “Without giving too much away, it will be a different experience for the audience every night — the audience will have some control over how the story is played out,” says Therriault. “It’ll push all of us as actors to not get locked down.”
Therriault will be using his improv skills learned at Sheridan in Androcles and putting his tap dancing talents to work in Me and My Girl. “It’s really fun and physical – there’s lots of falling and tripping and pratfalls,” he says. “It’s nice to be able to use all the improv and tap skills that I learned in school.”
Over the last decade, Therriault has learned to embrace the lulls as well as the busy periods in his career. “My advice to young actors would be not to stress so much. In slow times, it can often feel like your career is over but I’ve come to realize that it never is,” he says. “The lulls come with the territory. I’m much more comfortable with downtime than I was before.”